It’s hard to know where to begin! I’ll start with the practical:
If you have photos from the 2019 Frederick Pagan Pride Day that you would be willing to share, please drop me a line here at the facebook page or at frederickpaganpride(at)gmail(dot)com. We would be happy to give credit or not, whichever you prefer.
Our final tallies for the day: this year’s festival drew roughly 650 people to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick. We raised 1635.25 pounds of food for The Frederick Food Bank and another 257 pounds of pet food and other supplies for the Adoption Center at Frederick County Animal Control. For those of you playing along at home, that is nearly DOUBLE last year’s donations. THANK YOU for your generosity. The best kind of magick is the kind that helps ease suffering for the spirits who most need it – you made some unbelievable magick yesterday!
There are so many people I want to thank! Our presenters and performers, who utterly outdid themselves. Our ritual leaders, who offered different tastes of the many spiritual paths within Paganism. Our incredible community sponsors who made this festival possible through their generous donations. Our vendors, who made the shopping experience at Frederick Pagan Pride absolutely unreal. Our guests! It’s no good putting on a festival if no one comes out to enjoy it. Thank you for visiting us, for sharing your time, energy, magick and enthusiasm. You make Frederick Pagan Pride Day the joy that it is, and I am grateful beyond words to you.
And there is one group I want to hold high for a moment. It is impossible to convey in words how much goes into hosting a festival – we begin planning in January. The staff of Frederick Pagan Pride Day includes more than 30 people and every single one of them is absolutely vital. For many of us, the festival is one of the most joyous, but also longest, days of the year. My staff works HARD. It is my deep hope that they are all home and resting today, and staying off their feet. The staff does jobs that range from managing parking to registration to roaming security to acting as liaisons with various other groups at the festival to answering questions to emptying trash cans and refilling toilet paper to set up and tear down….it’s so much. I am so proud of my staff that it’s hard to talk about it without starting to cry. I love them all dearly, and I wish I could show you the thousands of things they do to make our festival run smoothly. They are the heart and soul of Frederick Pagan Pride Day.
In particular, I would like to honor Jeff, my event manager. This is the first year that someone stepped up to shoulder a large portion of the logistics. Jeff has been working for months to manage the staffing of a large, complex festival, and he knocked it out of the park. His work meant that this year, our largest thus far, was also the least stressful for me personally out of the last five. I am grateful beyond words for his work.
One of the things that is staying with me this year was how many people told me how good the energy of the festival was – how warm and welcome, joyous and generous everything felt. I think that may be what I’m most proud of this year. It means that the Beloved Community I am working to foster through Frederick CUUPS is quite real, and it is growing.
At the very end of the day, as the vendors were tearing down and the festival infrastructure was being disassembled, we had a round of unexpected guests. As I came back around the corner of the building to the event field, I was greeted by an astonishing spectacle – thousands of dragon flies had appeared out of nowhere. They dived and darted and danced in the air, causing everyone who had been working to pause and marvel at the sight of them. Dragonflies are associated with joy, and with living in the moment. Their presence was the most amazing gift from the Spirits. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
We are planning our 6th Annual Pagan Pride Day, the 2020 festival, to be on Saturday, September 12th. I hope you will join us. Work will begin on the festival over the winter. Please get in touch if you’d like to be part of that process.
As ever, I remain grateful and honored to guide the path of Frederick Pagan Pride Day. I am so proud of all of us.
FPPD Lead Organizer